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Tar sands marketers use appeal of reducing payments to Saudis

Promoters of Canadian tar sands oil have launched a media campaign around the idea that by replacing Saudi oil with Canadian crude the U.S. can reduce payments to a government that oppresses women.

“Last year we bought over 400 million barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia,” states an ad that launched on the Oprah Winfrey Network this week. “We bankrolled a regime that doesn’t allow women to drive.”

Speaking from Washington DC where he is supporting a civil disobedience campaign aimed at stopping approval of a new tar sands oil pipeline Rainforest Action Network spokesman Daniel Kessler said that linking womens’ rights to use of tar sands oil is “preposterous”.

“The people in the Middle East are taking care of those issues themselves.” he said. “We just saw the Arab Spring.”

“The idea that using tar sands oil is more ethical than using oil from the Middle East is ridiculous,” he said. “We need to be cutting our emissions period.”

Kessler said that much of the oil that would be transported via the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf will be earmarked for export and may end up in China.

According to the U.S. State Dept. greenhouse gas emissions associated with tar sands oil from the Keystone pipeline would equal the annual greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fuels in 588,000 to 4,061,000 passenger vehicles.

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